Tuesday, 26 April 2022

OUT OF THE EARTH ~ II ...... review


One of Desert Psychlist's favourite Bandcamp discoveries was Out Of The Earth's 2015 self-titled debut "Out Of The Earth", a mix of crunching classic rock and fuzzy stoner rock underscored with a bluesy grunginess. The release of "Out Of This Earth" promised much for the future but unfortunately life doesn't always follow the paths we have mapped out in our heads and so thanks to a pandemic and the relocation to another country of the bands main songwriter and lyricist Out Of The Earth's plans for world domination came a little off the rails. Music, much like life, will always finds a way and this year Out Of The Earth return with a new album, "II", the bands line-up might be pared down to just two members now but the music they create is just as exciting and just as vital.

For this release Out Of The Earth consist of  Thanos Vlachos (vocals/guitar/bass/FX) who also handles the music and lyrics and Marios Papapavlou (drums and percussion) who does the arrangements. Now there will be those worrying that a pared down version of OOTE might not quite reach the same standards as the original line up, Desert Psychlist's answer to that is that those people should  file their concerns under "U" for "unwarranted" as "II" is as every bit as good if not better than the album that proceeded it. "Fucking Sick" kicks things off and whether this is reference to recent bout of Covid or a lyric inspired by particularly bad hangover Desert Psychlist doesn't know what we can tell you however is that this is two minutes forty seven seconds of the purest hard'n'heavy rock you could possibly wish for, Vlachos' soulful lived in vocal berating his ill luck over a galloping groove replete with screaming guitar solos and punchy rhythms.. In a recent conversation with Desert Psychlist Vlachos  informed us that moving to England had seen his music taking on a gloomier, fuzzier aspect but we disagree and think that for "gloomier" he should maybe substitute the word "bluesier" as it is the blues that sits at the root of many of the songs that inhabit "II". That bluesiness is never more evident than on the albums next track. "Addiction Blues" a heartfelt lament boasting tasteful lead guitar breaks and wearied emotion drenched vocal tones that also includes a brief but quite beautiful lysergic flavoured middle-section. We stay in blues territory for following track "Oh Devil" only this time the dynamic is a little more laid back and moody and sees Papapavlou laying down some very clever and very tasty percussion beneath a very low key but perfectly pitched vocal enhanced by some beautifully constructed guitar solos. "Explode" is up next and here we find OOTE upping the tempo, still jamming a bluesy dynamic but this time with a little more swagger in their step. "Walls" is one of those songs that just hits every mark it is possible for a blues song to hit, an emotion wracked torch song that inhabits the same spine tingling territories that songs like Led Zeppelin's "Since I've Been Loving You" and The Allman Brother's "Worried Down With the Blues" once called their home, stunning is too small a word for this bluesy tour-de-force. "II" closes its account with the aptly titled "Beast" a heavy slightly experimental instrumental that incorporates a mixture of monastic vocalisations and droning effects in its intro then bursts into a heavy psych workout that sees Papapavlou beating out an impressive array of percussive tattoo's and salvos around which Vlachos delivers a myriad of thrumming riffs, swirling solos and off grid pedal effects., its impressive stuff if a little unexpected given the bluesy furrow the band had ploughed previously.

Given that Thanos Vlachos now lives in England and Marios Papapavlou still resides in his homeland of Greece putting together this latest instalment of Out Of The Earth's story has not been the easiest of tasks but it has been one worthy of the effort. "II" is a stunning collection of songs, a heady mixture of  classic rock crunch, soulful bluesy swagger and hard rock bluster from a band many thought had disappeared never to be heard from again. 
Check it out ..... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

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